Ascent of Mulhacén on 2017-12-01

Climber: Alex Lennon

Others in Party:Molly Lennon
Duncan Lennon <6176> Evan
Date:Friday, December 1, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:11414 ft / 3478 m

Ascent Trip Report

We climbed in a day from Poqueira Central, about twenty minutes' drive from Capileira. The hike up to Poqueira Refuge was pleasant and shorter than expected; along the way we spotted four ibex, always super neat to see. At the Refugio, we debated what gear to rent. it had snowed heavily in the last four days, and as this was the first clear day no one had yet climbed to report on conditions. We decided to take our chances and rent one pair of crampons between the four of us, just in case we ran into any sketchy sections.

We ascended following the river past the hut. we soon reached snow line and it was quite windy as we reached the beautiful cirque of the Caldera. The west slope loomed above us, pure white and almost featureless in its fresh coat of snow. In good spirits, we climbed up to the west slope proper. At this point our good cheer diminished as the good quality snow gave way to a thick, icy crust. The rest of the group charged straight up the slope while I elected to cut over to the west ridge as it was more featured. At this point, I got to try my hand at mixed climbing in summer hiking boots with no axe or crampons. Kick steps in the ice crust, scramble over some rocks, repeat. My cheap hiking boots did pretty well at this, and once above the rest of the group I moved right to intercept them. As I was basically the only one not in sneakers (stupid Americans!), I kicked steps for the rest to follow until the featureless crusty ice sheet transitioned to the rockier area below the summit. Here I turned the lead over to Duncan, and we scrambled the rest of the way to the summit.

Though it was cold up there, we stayed for a while to enjoy the splendid winter wonderland of the Sierra Nevada juxtaposed with views of the Mediterranean and Africa across the sea. Definitely one of the most amazing views I've had the pleasure of seeing. After snacks and photos, we headed down the south ridge which proved much nicer in these conditions- a gentle grade and barely any ice. All told, our car-to-car time ended up being 11 hours. We capped off the day by driving down to the coast and touching the Mediterranean. When planning this trip, we had no idea Mulhacen would end up being a truly epic mountaineering adventure!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6493 ft / 1979 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble, Snow Climb
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6493 ft / 1979 m
    Start Trailhead:4921 ft / 1499 m
Descent Statistics

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